Knife Quandry - what's the best?

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repartee
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2006/02/23 10:29:28 (permalink)

Knife Quandry - what's the best?

Went to cooking school and had it hammered in to our heads that Victorinox was best, then Henckels and now I'm convinced of the superiority of Japanese knives. Sharpen better due to higher or different content of carbon steel, I understand.

Does anyone else have a preference and why.

Thanks
#1

23 Replies Related Threads

    V960
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    RE: Knife Quandry - what's the best? 2006/02/23 12:32:06 (permalink)
    I own Randalls, Wurstorf, Henkels and just about every othe r brand you can think of. My best knives, IMHO, are Artisuku from Japan. Scary sharp is the way I would describe them.

    They made me demonstrate my sharpening abilities before they would sell me a top quality knife. Also served a very nice cup of tea while I was working. Sorry but they are not exactly gaijin friendly but they make the best knife I have ever used...I own about eight of them.

    http://www.aritsugu.com/
    #2
    porkbeaks
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    RE: Knife Quandry - what's the best? 2006/02/23 15:30:10 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by V960

    I own Randalls, Wurstorf, Henkels and just about every othe r brand you can think of. My best knives, IMHO, are Artisuku from Japan. Scary sharp is the way I would describe them.

    They made me demonstrate my sharpening abilities before they would sell me a top quality knife. Also served a very nice cup of tea while I was working. Sorry but they are not exactly gaijin friendly but they make the best knife I have ever used...I own about eight of them.

    http://www.aritsugu.com/


    Gee, only 8? pb
    #3
    dreamzpainter
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    RE: Knife Quandry - what's the best? 2006/02/23 16:17:37 (permalink)
    There are a number of quality knives in the block but my favorite... don't laugh.... is a 6" buck knife worn in a belt sheath, well balanced and fits well in my hand, takes and keeps an edge very well (yes I wash it before AND after every use)I also have a 10" buck that will slice a tomatoe or carve a venison roast
    #4
    octopus
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    RE: Knife Quandry - what's the best? 2006/02/23 17:42:15 (permalink)
    I have a Global Santoku Knife I got almost 4 months ago I could not live with out it now.
    #5
    BT
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    RE: Knife Quandry - what's the best? 2006/02/23 19:51:21 (permalink)
    I always used Henckel and Wusthoff until I bought a Kershaw Shun knife I happened to see discounted deeply. It was a revelation--not only beautiful but really SHARPER than my other knives. And sometimes I just get it out and admire it. Here's what Alton Brown has to say: http://www.altonbrown.com/pages/kershaw.html .

    #6
    V960
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    RE: Knife Quandry - what's the best? 2006/02/24 10:57:10 (permalink)
    PB,
    I worked for a Japanese company for twelve or so years. The Japanese ALWAYS bring presents or gifts when they visit. I let them know, politely of course, that spending a few hundred bucks on a Mila Schon tie wasn't exactly what I wanted. Go down to the kitchen street in Kyoto and get me another knife. They even have my name (in Kanji) engraved by hand into the hilt.

    They're carbon steel, hand made, and sharper than a razor. They're so sharp that you hardly feel it when you cut yourself. Good clean cut heals faster also.
    #7
    porkbeaks
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    RE: Knife Quandry - what's the best? 2006/02/24 11:31:32 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by V960

    PB,
    I worked for a Japanese company for twelve or so years. The Japanese ALWAYS bring presents or gifts when they visit. I let them know, politely of course, that spending a few hundred bucks on a Mila Schon tie wasn't exactly what I wanted. Go down to the kitchen street in Kyoto and get me another knife. They even have my name (in Kanji) engraved by hand into the hilt.

    They're carbon steel, hand made, and sharper than a razor. They're so sharp that you hardly feel it when you cut yourself. Good clean cut heals faster also.


    You had mentioned previously your Japanese employment so I figured these knives might have come to you in the form of gifts. From what I've read, these things go for what? At least $500 each? They must be some kinda' "sharp"! Of course, the Randalls don't go too cheap either, do they?
    Myself, I bought a set of German knives about 20 years ago that have served me well. They are from the "Ed. Wusthoff Dreizackwerk Trident Solingen, Germany". I purchased them through a special sale in a catalog that mostly featured Leichtung work benches. The set included a large chef's knife, large and small carving knives, a boning knife, and a paring knife. I believe the price was $125.

    I also have a Victorinox chef's knife which, for the price (about $20 in the 1980's), has been more than adequate. pb
    #8
    V960
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    RE: Knife Quandry - what's the best? 2006/02/24 14:51:28 (permalink)
    The knives are about half the price shown on this website when purchasd in Japan at the main shop.

    http://www.japanese-knife.com/Merchant2/merchant.mv?Screen=CTGY&Store_Code=Knife&Category_Code=HAR-JN1xxx

    Main shop site

    http://www.aritsugu.com/menu.html

    A bit more reasonable store

    http://www.sushi-knifes.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=CTGY&Store_Code=SKAA&Category_Code=AR

    Randall's biggest problem is the 18 month waiting list. I stopped at the factory fifteen plus years ago and found one I liked, it was just under $200. Now it goes for about double that price.

    Another manufacturer and reseller I like is AG Russell. They make a folding chef's knife for camping and such that has an ATS-34 blade. It's called the Honcho and it's great if do alot of camping.
    #9
    zataar
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    RE: Knife Quandry - what's the best? 2006/02/24 17:54:20 (permalink)
    I love my Japanese Global knives. They maintain an edge sharper and longer than my Wusthofs, which I still love for sentimental reasons. Globals are affordable and easily obtained. I would hate my job if I didn't have my Global vegetable knife. It makes slicing and dicing several gallons of onions (no prep cook where I work) a breeze, with no tears.
    #10
    stevencarry
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    RE: Knife Quandry - what's the best? 2006/02/25 01:44:13 (permalink)
    I also vote for Global and think the 7 inch Santoku is the one knife you need.
    But "affordable" for you might not be for many. It's Ninety bucks.
    #11
    stevencarry
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    RE: Knife Quandry - what's the best? 2006/02/25 01:46:44 (permalink)
    [|)]
    #12
    Jimeats
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    RE: Knife Quandry - what's the best? 2006/03/04 08:38:28 (permalink)
    I have an old carbon steel blade Chineese vegtible knife, one of my favorites but not pretty to look at. I have some old carbon steel knifes they are great for keeping an edge but stain very quickly. I know in this state they are no longer approved for institutional use. The guy that sharpens them for me said that at one time they were the best in the industry and if I ever wanted to part with them to let him know. Chow Jim
    #13
    repartee
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    RE: Knife Quandry - what's the best? 2006/03/04 10:17:43 (permalink)
    Thanks for all this.

    I went out and bought some knives - pretty good, chef's at about 120 and veg at 100

    Cutting an onion is like cutting butter!

    These Artisugu knives seem like heaven. I'll look into it when I go to Kyoto again.

    This site is the best!!



    #14
    Mosca
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    RE: Knife Quandry - what's the best? 2006/03/04 10:34:22 (permalink)
    Man, I gotta get some new knives after reading this.

    Please advise; what is the best VALUE in the under-$200 range for a set of say, 3 or 4 (paring, chopping, all purpose and maybe slicing)?


    Tom
    #15
    BT
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    RE: Knife Quandry - what's the best? 2006/03/04 12:47:42 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Mosca

    Man, I gotta get some new knives after reading this.

    Please advise; what is the best VALUE in the under-$200 range for a set of say, 3 or 4 (paring, chopping, all purpose and maybe slicing)?


    Tom


    I think the best VALUE in knives is probably the Henckel's International Classic line. These are not in the same class as the knives being discussed above--a single one of those can run you close to $200. But the Henckel's International knives are forged high-grade steel with full tangs (the metal of the knife extends the length of the handle--important for durability and balance) which is what you want, but they are cheaper than the top-of-the-line Henckel's knives because they are made in Spain, not Germany (though Spain has a long history and tradition of making fine blades in Toledo) and because they are slightly cruder in appearance (doesn't affect performance). One place to buy them is: http://www.cutleryandmore.com/prodlist.asp?BrandID=45 . Amazon.com sometimes has them and Bed, Bath and Beyond often has some of them in stores. But be careful because there are other lines with similar names, also by Henckel's, that are NOT forged but stamped and I would NOT buy those.

    For all purpose and chopping, I'd get a 7" or 8" Santuko (I prefer the straight edge ones rather than hollow ground but the latter are becoming more popular and available). For paring, a paring knife and for slicing, a 10" or longer slicer (here, hollow ground is useful). Another knife I enjoy is a bread knife with an offset handle.

    This excellent set for $59 is half your need:

    #16
    stevencarry
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    RE: Knife Quandry - what's the best? 2006/03/04 13:50:51 (permalink)
    Notice, the single figure on the knifes above ? Real Henckel's have two. It's their "twins logo"
    #17
    BT
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    RE: Knife Quandry - what's the best? 2006/03/04 14:29:24 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by stevencarry

    Notice, the single figure on the knifes above ? Real Henckel's have two. It's their "twins logo"


    "Real" Henckels, their top of the line knives, have FOUR figures. These are their Made-in-Germany top quality forged knives. The "TWO-figure" line is the so-called "Twin-Gourmet" and I do NOT like them. They are stamped, not forged. You can always tell a stamped knife because it does NOT become thicker just in front of the handle. Stamping is a cheaper way of making knives and it produces an inferior product. The International Classic line that I recommended does, indeed have one figure. But what you get for less than half the price of the 4-figure lines (and about the same price as the 2-figure line) is an excellent quality, forged, full-tang knife that's every bit as durable and serviceable as the 4-figure knives but is much less expensive because, as I said, it's made in Spain (lower wages) and the forging isn't polished as nicely.
    #18
    stevencarry
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    RE: Knife Quandry - what's the best? 2006/03/04 15:03:47 (permalink)
    http://www.zwilling.com/country/us/language/en-US/locales
    BT, I think you are seeing double. I am a Global guy but the few JA's I have are top of the line, are not twin gourmet and have twins.
    #19
    BT
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    RE: Knife Quandry - what's the best? 2006/03/04 15:09:37 (permalink)
    I stand corrected. They also use the 2-figure logo on the top-of-the line now. In San Francisco, I have their "4-star" knives and I thought I remembered a 4-figure logo but maybe not.



    Anyway, they also use the 2-figure logo on their cheaper lines such as these:



    and they are stamped knives. You do not want them. Notice how the blade of the professional-S knife, the top of the line, swells just in front of the handle so that the metal is the same shape as the wooden handle. This is the mark of a forged knife. Then notice the other Henckel's doesn't do that. It also uses the 2-figure logo but is stamped.

    If you compare the Professional-S with the International Classic I recommended above, you will find the same forged features however if you could examine it close up you would see that the metal next to the handle doesn't look quite as polished or "finished". In other words, it's a cruder forging, but that doesn't affect its performance, just its appearance and I think for about 1/3 the price it's not an issue.
    #20
    stevencarry
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    RE: Knife Quandry - what's the best? 2006/03/04 15:42:10 (permalink)
    I stand corrected. I have the Pro-S and thought all "twins" were the German zwillings and none were stamped, and that all the single Intl. ones were their "selling themselves out" line.
    But I guess it's like a lot of products now, "What do you want to pay..we will sell you something. You want to pay a lot for junk fine, if you want to pay little for quality we have that too"
    Reminds me of Eddie Bauer, they used to have quality, now it's four times what Target charges and lasts one quarter as long!
    #21
    Mosca
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    RE: Knife Quandry - what's the best? 2006/03/04 22:01:38 (permalink)
    Thank you very much, BT. That is EXACTLY the kind of tool that will fit my needs. Those will be on my list next time I'm shopping for myself!


    Tom
    #22
    lleechef
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    RE: Knife Quandry - what's the best? 2006/03/05 19:53:42 (permalink)
    I use only Wusthof Trident knives.......my French knife, boning knife, santoku knife, paring knives, slicing knives, cerrated knives. They're the best for me.
    #23
    jeepguy
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    RE: Knife Quandry - what's the best? 2006/03/07 10:45:26 (permalink)
    I've had a Wusthof Santoku knife for a year.I could cut my foot off with that thing.Still as sharp as new and still amazes me each time i use it.I did recently buy at my local grocery,an electric knife for $4.99.I could probably cut my head off with that,but it would hurt.My wife is from Shanghai and lived in Tokyo for eight years,but insists on using the cheap knives that came free with the mini food chopper!
    #24
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